Sermon Quotes: "Meet Elihu"

“The artistic skill of the author of these chapters in sustaining the tension in Job, and also in preparing us carefully for the final word from the Lord, is unsurpassed.” David Atkinson

“We have heard Job’s passionate last stand. We are waiting for the Lord. These chapters give us space between Job and Yahweh. They illustrate, just by being there, that Yahweh is not forced into a quick reply by the intensity of Job’s entreaties. God acts in his own time, he is not at human beck and call. He ‘comes down his own secret stair’, and in his sovereign and gracious care, he decides the timing of his intervention.” David Atkinson

“God is doing something so ultimately wonderful that unanswered prayer is the necessary price of achieving it. Job’s prayers will be answered, but only when his sufferings have achieved that for which God purposes them. When God remains silent in answer to our urgent cries, it is not that he does not hear, but rather that it is somehow necessary for us to cry in vain and wait in hope until he achieved in us, and in his world, what he wills to achieve.” Christopher Ash

“Elihu is a flawed prophet but not a false prophet.” Douglas O’ Donnell

“It is important to feel the force, and the surprise, of the central issue here. The force of it is quite simply that to accuse God of injustice is a terribly serious matter. Elihu is angry first with Job ‘because he justified himself rather than God.’ He is angry that a mortal man should claim-and persistently claim-to be right in a way that suggested that God must be in the wrong for causing him to suffer…Again and again as we have listened to Job, we have had to gasp at his audacity in accusing God of injustice. However sympathetic we may be to his plight, and however strongly we believe his protestations of innocence (which we know to be true from 1:1,8;2:3), something in us hesitates when we hear him speaking of God with disrespect. It is not true that he is suffering because he has sinned. But it is true that because he is suffering he has said some sinful things. These will need to be corrected.” Christopher Ash

“So what does this say to Job? It reminds him-and especially reminds us, the readers, as we wrestle with Job in his pain, and struggle to make sense of his appalling situations-that there is more to life than we can understand with our senses. There is a different way of looking at everything-from the perspective of God the Creator. He sees ‘everything under the heavens,’ whereas we see only a part. There is more to Job’s predicament than Job himself will ever know, though we were let in to part of the divine secret in chapters 1 and 2. True wisdom is accessible to God alone-which means it can come from him alone. The wisdom which will contain an answer to Job can only come from God…Both Job and his friends have been looking for answer, looking for a cause. But all the searching for causes has proved useless. The answer comes not in looking back, but in looking up. We must look forward for the divine purpose, not hunt around for causes in the past. Eilhu has moved us from a backward looking, retributive understanding of suffering to a forward looking, redemptive one. Elihu has moved us on. He has taken us from an exploration of God’s power, and a meditation on the greatness of God to his conclusion in verse 24. The fear of the Lord, that is where we have to come-and the fear of the Lord as we learned in chapter 28 is the beginning of wisdom.” David Atkinson